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Chapter 4. By Nicole Tripp. What is Collaborative Writing?. People working together to create a document. Proposals, reports, memos, books, and manuals. Advantages of Collaborative Writing. Improves communication among employees. Greater skill base Greater knowledge base.

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Chapter 4 l.jpg

Chapter 4


Nicole Tripp

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What is Collaborative Writing?

  • People working together to create a document.

    • Proposals, reports, memos, books, and manuals

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Advantages of Collaborative Writing

  • Improves communication among employees.

  • Greater skill base

  • Greater knowledge base

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Disadvantages of Collaborative Writing

  • Takes more time

  • Can lead to groupthink

  • Can create unequal workloads

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Setting Group Agenda’s

  • Define the task

  • Choose a group leader

  • Define tasks for each group member

  • Establish working procedures

  • Establish a procedure for resolving conflict

  • Establish a work schedule

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Conducting Efficient Meetings

  • Arrive on time.

  • Stick to an agenda.

  • Record the important decisions made at the meeting

  • Summarize the meeting

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Communicating Diplomatically

  • Listen carefully

  • Let the speaker finish; don’t interrupt

  • Give everyone a chance to speak

  • Avoid personal remarks and insults

  • Don’t get emotionally attached to your ideas

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Critiquing Group Members Drafts

  • Start with a positive comment

  • Talk about the writing, not the writer

  • Focus on how the document will fit into the group’s document

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Communicating Electronically

  • Use the comment, revisions and highlight feature on a Word Processor

  • Use e-mail to send files

  • Use Groupware

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  • A software that lets people plan, draft, revise and track a document

    • Sharing files

    • Carrying out discussions with team members

    • Distributing announcements

    • Creating automated change notifications

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Collaborative Writing

Set Group’s Agenda

Conduct Efficient Meetings

Communicate Diplomatically

Critique Drafts

Communicate electronically



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Chapter 5


Michelle Denham and Lisa Obenauf

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Analyzing an Audience

  • Thinking

  • Listening

  • Classifying

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Identifying Primary and Secondary Audiences

  • Primary Audience – have a direct role in responding to your document

  • Secondary Audience – will not directly act on or respond to your document

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Basic Categories of Readers

  • Try to classify your readers according to their knowledge of your subject.

    • The Expert

    • The Technician

    • The Manager

    • The General Reader

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Individual Characteristics of Readers

  • Who is your reader?

  • What are your reader’s attitudes and expectations?

  • Why and how will your reader use your document?

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Writing for Multiple Audiences

  • Modular Report

    • Abstract – primarily for the technical reader

    • Executive Summary – primarily for the manager

    • Body of Report – for any interested readers, including technical readers, managers, experts and others

    • Appendices – Primarily for technicians and experts

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The Audience Profile Sheet

  • Template available at: the “Forms for Technical Communication” section.

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Communicating Across Cultures

  • Requires understanding of culture

  • Requires understanding of cultural variables

    • What language(s) should you use?

    • What political, social, and economic factors will influence how readers interpret what you write?


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Some “On the Top” Cultural Variables to Consider

  • Political

  • Economic

  • Social

  • Religious

  • Educational

  • Technological

  • Linguistic








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Understanding what “Beneath the Surface” Cultural Variables Mean

There are also six “Beneath the Surface” variables to be considered.

  • Each represents a spectrum of attitudes

  • They do not line up in a clear pattern

  • Different organizations within the same culture can vary greatly

  • Cultural Values are fluid, not static.





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Understanding cont. Variables Mean

  • Variables do not offer answers, instead questions to be considered.

  • Can help you study the communications from people and become more aware of underlying values that affect communication.

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Cultural Variables “Beneath the Surface” Variables Mean

See Table 5.1 for details

  • Focus on individuals or groups

  • Distance between business life and private life

  • Distance between ranks

  • Nature of truth

  • Need to spell out details

  • Attitudes toward uncertainty


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Considering Cultural Variables as you Write Variables Mean

  • The challenge with communicating with a person from another culture is that you are communicating with a person, not a culture.

  • You cannot be sure which cultures have influenced that person.

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Considering Cultural Variables cont. Variables Mean

  • To the person you’re communicating with, you are the one from another culture.

    • You cannot be sure how much they are trying to accommodate your culture patterns.

  • Communication between the two of you creates a hybrid of the two cultures.

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Considering Cultural Variables cont. Variables Mean

  • Research what you can about the culture you are writing for.

  • If possible, ask for assistance by someone native to the culture.

  • Seek examples of the type of writing you will be doing so you can study the format.

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Strategies for Intercultural Communication Variables Mean

  • Limit your vocabulary

  • Keep sentences short

  • Define abbreviations and acronyms in a glossary

  • Avoid jargon unless you know your readers are familiar with it

  • Avoid idioms and slang

  • Use the active voice whenever possible

  • Be careful with graphics

  • Be sure someone from the target culture reviews your document









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Generating Graphics and Design for Multicultural Readers Variables Mean

  • Graphics and Design – One way to overcome the language barrier.

  • Graphics and design can differ from culture to culture.

  • Study samples of documents written from the culture to learn important differences in document layout.

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Generating Graphics and Design cont. Variables Mean

  • Documents from different cultures are becoming more unified.

    • International Business is increasing each year

    • The use of the Web is increasing dramatically

    • Most communicators around the world are using the same word processing software.




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Determining your Purpose Variables Mean

  • Ask yourself: “What do I want this document to accomplish?”

  • What do you want your readers to know/believe?

  • What do you want your readers to do?

  • Your document should help your readers carry out a task, understand a concept, or hold a particular belief.

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Determining your Purpose cont. Variables Mean

  • Think of a verb that represents your purpose.

  • Is your real purpose different from your expressed purpose?

    • Many readers don’t want to be “persuaded” but are willing to learn new facts or ideas.

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Determining your Purpose Variables MeanExamples

Communicating Verbs

  • To assess

  • To request

  • To propose

  • To recommend

  • To forecast

  • To evaluate

Communicating Verbs

  • To describe

  • To explain

  • To inform

  • To illustrate

  • To review

  • To outline

  • To authorize

  • To define

  • To summarize

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Gaining Management’s Approval Variables Mean

  • Consider gaining your manager’s approval before proceeding too far into the project.

  • It is wise to make sure that you are on the right track before investing too much time and effort into it.

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Questions Variables Mean

  • Please feel free to ask any questions you may have at this time.